Microsoft Clip Art is dead, Bing takes over
Microsoft has announced it has done away with the expansive Clip Art library long associated with its Office suite of software, marking the end of an era for fans of the abstract, fuzzy cartoons used in desktop publishing, documents, invitations, greeting cards and presentations since the 90s.
There were only 82 illustrations built into Word 6.0 in 1996, but the collection eventually grew to more than 100,000 static and moving images housed online.
From now, stock and royalty-free images will be served to Office applications via Microsoft's Bing Images.
Nostalgia-inducing though the baffling old images may be, the move makes sense given that anyone looking to insert images into a presentation or document is now far more likely to search on Google (or Bing?) than make do with whatever they can find in Clip Art.
"Usage of Office's image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines," said Microsoft in a blog post.
"Bing Image Search has higher quality images that are more up-to-date. For example, searching for "cellphone" gives more variety and modern looking phones instead of the old-school bricks from Clip Art."
Ironically the image Microsoft used to illustrate this (above) still features some impressively retro phones.
The change affects versions of Office stretching way back to 2003.